Knitty: little purls of wisdom
beauty shot


Elongated stitches are FUN, gradient yarns and magic balls are FUN, therefore knitting Gusto is FUN! I've had a little addiction to both elongated stitches and gradient yarns and have been waiting to combine the two into something special. Gusto is not a challenging knit, but the stitches change throughout the pattern… so between that and the color shifts you will not be bored by this knitting project!

Gusto's stitches were developed for projects in my new book, Knockout Knits. I elongate stitches by wrapping the yarn more than once around the needle and then manipulate them on the next row or round to create different textures. You end up with a lacy fabric that is created by these elongations instead of with increases and decreases. Knockout Knits teaches lots of tips and tricks for working with elongated stitches in new and unusual ways.

You can choose to knit Gusto with or without beads! Beads are only used on the cast on and bind off to give a little extra something something to your Gusto. My Freia Gusto has beads; the magic ball version does not!

Knit it with Gusto!


spacer model: Laura Nelkin
spacer photos: Ava Stiles


Circumference: 36 inches
Depth: 10 inches



Version 1 (beaded, shades of browns, shown below)
spacer Freia Fine Handpaints, Ombre Fingering; [75% wool, 25% nylon; 322 yd/294 m per 75g ball); color: Maple

Version 2 (no beads, multi-colored, shown above)
spacer Homemade Fingering Weight Magic Ball; (approx. 80 grams) (see Pattern Notes)

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]
spacer US #7/4.5 mm 32 inch or longer circular ndl
spacer US # 8/5 mm 32 inch or longer circular ndl, or one size larger than needed to obtain gauge (for bind off)

spacer stitch marker
spacer 280 Size 8 Japanese glass seed beads (approx. 10 grams); optional (used on Version 1)
Dental Floss Threader or Large Eye Beading Needle (if required, for stringing on beads)
spacer yarn needle



22 sts/32 rounds = 4 inches in st st with smaller needle, lightly blocked

[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]

Homemade Magic Ball: Gusto lends itself well to a variety of yarns and I decided to make one with scraps on hand in my stash (of which there are A LOT to choose from!) I chose 6 colors I thought worked well together (some variegated, some solid) and began to wind a ball. When it was time to connect one color to another I used Jane Richmond's Magic Knot video to join each ball of yarn together. You could make this with as many colors as you want; just try to keep the weight of the yarn the same. Many of the yarns I used were Gumballs from Knitted Wit and Mini-Skeins from Space Cadet. Wind a ball that is at least 340 yards/80 grams. I use a digital scale to help with this.

Wrapping Yarn: Insert the right-hand ndl into the next stitch, wrap the yarn twice or three times, as indicated, around the right-hand ndl, at its widest circumference, and then knit the stitch. When you encounter these wrapped sts on the next round you will be dropping them and elongating the stitch.

Wrap Stitch: Dropping extra wraps, slip next 3 sts purlwise with yarn in back onto the right-hand ndl, [bring yarn to front, slip sts back to the left-hand ndl, bring yarn to back, slip sts back to the right hand ndl] 4 times.

Criss-Cross 4[6]: This technique reorients the positions of multiple elongated sts on the ndls so that they criss-cross over each other. To work, slip 4[6] stitches purlwise (dropping the extra wraps onto the right-hand ndl. With the left-hand ndl pass the first 2[3] slipped stitches over the last 2[3] slipped stitches and onto the left-hand ndl. Move the remaining 2[3] slipped stitches onto the left-hand ndl. Knit these 4[6]sts.

Stringing on Beads: With a dental floss threader or large eye beading ndl, thread end of yarn through eye of ndl, then pick up beads with ndl and slide down onto the yarn. Laura's video tutorial can be found here.

Knit 1 with 2 Beads (used on Bind Off): Insert the right-hand needle into the next, then slide 2 beads up until they are almost touching the right-hand needle. Wrap the yarn around the right-hand needle, ready to make the new stitch. The beads should be sitting “on top” of the needle. Then work the stitch. The beads will lock into place on the new stitch. When you come to this stitch on the bind off, you will split the beads on the two legs of the stitch – the bind off instructions explain the process.

Instructions for the Long-Tail Cast On can be found here.

Beaded Cast On
Thread on 140 beads with a dental floss threader.

Split the beads in half so that 70 beads go onto the tail, and 70 are on the working yarn. You will need a tail about 130 inches long. You will be working a long tail cast on.

Using smaller needle, choose one of the following Cast Ons:

Beaded CO:
CO1, [slip up 2 beads (one from the working yarn, and one from the tail), CO2] 69 times, slip up 2 beads, CO1. 140 sts.


Regular Cast On:
Using smaller needle and the long-tail method, CO 140 sts.

Note: Keep the cast on edge relaxed, by making sure you leave some space between the stitches on your needle -- at least a stitch's worth.

Both Versions continue here:
Place marker, and join to work into the round, being careful to not twist your stiches.
Rnd 1: Purl.
Rnd 2: Knit.
Rnd 3: Purl.
Rnd 4: Knit to end of rnd, wrapping yarn twice for each st.
Rnd 5: Purl, dropping wraps as you come to them.
Rnd 6: Knit.
Rnd 7: Purl.
Rnd 8: [K4, k1 wrapping yarn twice, k4 wrapping yarn 3 times for each st, k1 wrapping yarn twice] around.
Rnd 9: Purl, dropping wraps as you come to them.
Rnd 10: [K4 wrapping yarn 3 times for each st, k1 wrapping yarn twice, k4, k1 wrapping yarn twice] around.
Rnd 11: Purl, dropping wraps as you come to them.
Rnds 12-13: Repeat Rnds 8-9.
Rnd 14: Knit.
Rnd 15: Purl.
Rnd 16: Knit to end of rnd, wrapping yarn three times for each st.
Rnd 17: [Wrap Stitch, k2 dropping extra wraps] around.
Rnd 18: Purl.
Rnd 19: [K4, k1 wrapping yarn twice, k4 wrapping yarn 3 times for each st, k1 wrapping yarn twice] around.
Rnd 20: Purl, dropping wraps as you come to them.
Rnds 21-23: Repeat Rnds 16-18.
Rnd 24: Knit.
Rnd 25: Purl.
Rnd 26: Knit to end of round, wrapping yarn three times for each st.
Rnd 27: [Criss-Cross 4, Criss-Cross 6] around.
Rnd 28: Knit.
Rnds 29-31: Repeat Rnds 26-28.
Rnds 32 and 33: Repeat Rnds 26-27.
Rnd 34: Purl.
Rnd 35: Knit.
Rnd 36: Purl.
Rnds 37-39: Repeat Rnds 16-18.
Rnds 40-41: Repeat Rnds 19-20.
Rnds 42-44: Repeat Rnds 16-18.
Rnd 45: Knit.
Rnd 46: Purl.
Rnds 47-52: Repeat Rnds 8-13.
Rnd 53: Knit.
Rnd 54: Purl.
Rnd 55-56: Repeat Rnds 4-5.
Rnd 57: Knit.
Rnd 58: Purl.

Choose one of the following Bind Offs: Beaded Bind Off (shown at right):
Cut yarn, leaving a 300 inch tail. String 140 beads onto tail. Tie a knot at the end of the to keep your beads from slipping off.

With larger needle, knit 1 with 2 beads, k1, lift first st on right hand ndl over the second stitch to bind it off, splitting beads so one is on the right leg of the stitch and one on the left leg, [k1 with 2 beads, bind off 1 st, k1, bind off 1 st (split beads so one is on the right leg of the stitch and one on the left leg)] to end of round.


Regular Bind Off:
With larger needle, bind off all sts.


Cut yarn and pull through last stitch.
Weave in ends and block.


Laura Nelkin is obsessed with making! She just released her first book with Random House, Knockout Knits, teaches classes on (there's one on Cowl Design that's pretty awesomesauce), and publishes e-books like Just One More, and Adorn Anew.

Laura's got kits, clubs, classes, creativity, and craziness...take a look at what she's up to!